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Tuesday, March 25, 2003  
A whole Lott of lyin' going on

John Lott, Jr., is lying again. Why am I not surprised? His latest prevarications are in a March 22 letter to the editors of the Washington Post. Lott, who works for the Right Wing American Enterprise Institute, has claimed in his widely cited book, "More Guns, Less Crime" that criminals can be driven away 98 percent of the time by would-be victims who brandish their guns.

Yes, I know there is a war going on and Lott pales into insignificance next to it, but, apparently, all he thinks about is himself. Ergo, his latest attention seeking maneuver in the midst of the invasion of Iraq. In the letter he repeats some old lies and adds some new ones. There is the usual claim that numerous academics have validated his claims when nothing of the sort has happened. The usual reliance on a couple of fellow radical gun lovers as 'objective' supporters of his biased work. And, the usual defense of having used an internet sock puppet to promote his book and himself. (New twist: Nasty internet commentators made him make up Mary Rosh. Of course, he doesn't offer any support for that claim, either.)

Lott also relies on the same old ruse to mislead people into thinking the issue is a computer crash instead of whether the alleged data ever existed in the first place.

The bottom line is that I lost data for most of my various research projects, as well as the files for my book "More Guns, Less Crime," in a computer crash in July 1997.

Academics have confirmed my hard-disk crash as well as discussions that I had back in 1996 and 1997 regarding the survey, and there is also verification by a participant in the survey.)

The only participant who supposedly remembers the missing survey is one David Gross, head of a Minnesota group that has used dubious means to try to impose its views about gun ownership on the citizenry there. Gross, who belatedly remembered his alleged participation in the unproven survey, happens to be a member of several pro-gun groups along with Lott. So, Lott just happened to randomly call a friend and fellow gun nut for his survey. Right.

Lott goes on to say,

As to the claim, raised in a Feb. 1 Style article, that I used a fictitious identity in making posts in Internet chat rooms, I did indeed do that. I originally used my own name but switched after receiving threatening and obnoxious telephone calls from other Internet posters.

I would love to see the records from the telephone company confirming those telephone calls occurred. But, knowing John Lott, I don't expect that I, or anyone else, ever will.

Meanwhile, Amazon has reportedly removed a review of the book by Mary Rosh, giving it five stars, from its site.

Lott's questionable honesty has not gone unnoticed at his place of employment.

Washington, DC - Handgun-Free America protested against American Enterprise Institute Scholar John Lott yesterday at the AEI's annual dinner at the Washington Hilton, and called on the AEI to investigate swirling allegations that John Lott may have falsified research for his book, "More Guns, Less Crime."

Furthermore, the most recent research refutes Lott's claim that gun ownership prevents crime.

An article published by the American Journal of Public Health last December showed that the six states with the highest rates of gun ownership--Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Wyoming--had homicide rates that were three times higher than the four states with the lowest rates of gun ownership--Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The study's lead author, Matthew Miller of the Harvard School of Public Health, concluded that "guns, on balance, lethally imperil rather than protect Americans.

Lott's new book, "The Bias Against Guns," which rehashes much of what was said in the earlier work, was released by Regnery Publishing, a vanity press for the far Right, thereby avoiding the scandal surrounding "More Guns, Less Crime," this month. There has not yet been time enough for it to be scrutinized, though there is a suspicious looking five star review of the book at Amazon. Lott's ideological team mates remain steadfastly loyal, ignoring the fact that Lott's reputation as a serious scholar is hanging by a thread.

8:54 PM